Best cities for freelancers

Hannah Norton

Dec 11, 2023

There are approximately 1.57 billion self-employed people around the world, equating to 46.6% of the total global workforce.1 For some, the routine of a 9-5 job, along with the ability to socialise in and outside of the office is ideal; whereas for others, the flexibility of when and where to work is more appealing.

If you choose to embrace the freelance lifestyle, whether full time or as a side hustle alongside an existing career, the next thing to consider is whether you want to set up a home office, or travel to a new destination to explore new cities and cultures, while still earning a wage.

Whilst both options have many benefits, if you’re leaning towards the latter, then you’ll want to read this guide. We’ve compiled a list of the best cities for freelancers, taking several factors into account, including the number of coworking spaces, Wi-Fi hotspots, electricity costs and more. So, read on to find out.

And, given we are experts in comparing home loan options for people looking to renovate for a functional home office while still enjoying regular employment, we also include some tips on how to make the most out of a new home loan.

The world’s best cities for freelancers

US cities are amongst the best places in the world for freelancers, but where else makes it into the top 10?

1. New York City, New York, USA

In first place is New York City, aka, the city that never sleeps. Busy and bustling, it makes perfect sense that this would be the ideal place for freelancers to set up shop, as the city is well equipped for remote working.

Not only does it have the greatest number of Wi-Fi hotspots by far, at a staggering 1,216,437, but it also has 417 coworking spaces (the second most on our list). And, despite property prices being on the higher side, salaries counteract this, with the average monthly salary standing at AUD$10,388 (USD$6,575/EUR€6,246) – the third highest on our list.

2. London, UK

If you’d prefer to hop across to the other side of the pond, then you’re in luck, with London rivalling NYC as the second best freelance city. Nowhere else can beat it for coworking spaces, with the UK’s capital offering a huge 1,311 places to work from.

Pair that with the fact that it has the second highest number of Wi-Fi hotspots, at 766,396, and the third greatest number of freelancer jobs going at 1,863, and you could easily see why self-employed workers would consider moving to London to fully embrace their lifestyle.

3. San Francisco, California, USA

The USA dominates the list for freelancing hotspots, and for third place, we head to the west coast, with San Francisco. Here, workers can expect the highest average monthly salaries, at around AUD$11,602 (USD$7,343/EUR€6,976). So, once you’ve paid your rent and transport fees, you’ll be able to enjoy spending your time exploring the city, as you discover key sights like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, as well as bar hopping down the likes of Valencia and Polk Street.

Another pro for freelancers is that with an internet speed of 211.1 Mb/s, San Francisco has the third fastest speeds in the world, so you don’t need to worry about freezing midway through a client call.

4. Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago makes it into fourth place, with monthly average salaries high, at AUD$9,257 (USD$5,859/EUR€5,566); as well as fast internet speeds (203.27 Mb/s). Plus, with 342,660 Wi-Fi hotspots around the city, you won’t need to worry about dropping off midway through a piece of work – whether you’re working in a coworking space, coffee shop, or in your very own home office.

5. San Diego, California, USA

Rounding off our top five list of freelancing cities is California’s San Diego. With its gorgeous year-round weather, beautiful beaches, and great nightlife; it’s no wonder people flock here to live.

And the great news is that the city is set up for remote working. Not only does it boast the fastest internet speeds on our list, at an impressive 220.11 Mb/s, but it also has high monthly salaries, at an average of AUD$8,770 (USD$5,551/EUR€5,273).

Other European cities continue to enter the list in positions 6-10, with Paris in sixth place, and Warsaw in seventh. If it’s coworking spaces you’re looking for, then Paris is ideal, with 245 spots available. Alternatively, for freelancers actively looking for new jobs, then Paris and Warsaw are perfect, with the highest number of job listings in the world, at 2,442 and 2,044 respectively.

Dallas, Austin, and Toronto make up the top 10, with Toronto boasting the third most Wi-Fi spots in the world, at 527,680. However, if the cost of living is the most important factor for you; then Belgrade, Warsaw, Oslo, and Zagreb could be ideal cities, as they have the lowest electricity bills; with Budapest and Belgrade also having the lowest income tax rates.

Image showing the best cities for freelancers around the world and in Australia.

The best Australian cities for freelancers

Whilst no Australian city fell into the top 10, they still act as great bases for freelancers. And, what you might not know, is that Australia has the third lowest income tax rate on our list, at 22.5%, meaning you can keep more of what you earn.

1. Sydney

The bright lights of Sydney attract freelancers from all over the world, and according to our index, it’s the best city in Australia for remote working. The reason for this? Not only does it have the highest average monthly salary in Australia, at AUD$5,826 (USD$3,687/EUR€3,503), but it has the greatest number of freelance jobs, as well as the second most coworking spots.

2. Melbourne

Melbourne makes it into a very respectable second place in Australia, and 28th overall. With 50,124 Wi-Fi hotspots, it has the most in the country, meaning you should be able to log on and do some work whether you’re at one of the 212 coworking spots, or at your favourite coffee shop or bar.

3. Perth

In third place is Perth, with the city famed for its beaches and laid-back, family lifestyle. If you’re considering moving here and want to work remotely, then there’s lots of opportunities to do so. Choose from 40 coworking spaces, or connect to one of the 15,072 Wi-Fi hotspots available.

4.  Canberra

Rounding off our list of the best freelancing cities in Australia is its capital, Canberra. It has the fastest internet speeds in the country, at 79.66 Mb/s. The only thing we would say, is that coworking spaces are more limited here, at 23, as well as jobs available, at just nine; so we recommend to try and get work lined up ahead of moving there.

As Stephen Zeller, General Manager of Money at Compare the Market states, Covid-19 brought remote working opportunities to a lot of people, and for many, that’s become the new way of life.

“More people are choosing to enjoy freelance work, whether by itself or to complement an existing full-time job. With that brings huge flexibility, especially in terms of whether to set up your own home office or travel abroad and see the world, depending on what your employer offers,” Zeller says.

“If you are employed with a company and are looking to pick up freelance work as a side gig, you might be looking to renovate your home to create a functional office space for your side hustle. Refinancing an existing mortgage can help pay for the works, and comparing your options online can help you find a home loan with a repayment structure that best suits your budget.”

You can use Compare the Market’s free home loan comparison tool to explore options available to you in a matter of minutes, so that you can spend more time focusing on your career and lifestyle.



FactorData PointCollection Method
Electricity PricesAllDownloaded Dataset.
Income Tax RateAllDownloaded Dataset.
Coworking SpacesAllScraped Data.
Average SalaryAllScraped Data.
Internet SpeedsMajorityScraped Data.
Internet SpeedsManchester
San Diego
San Francisco
Values Inputted Manually.
Wi-Fi HotspotsAllScraped Data.
Freelancing JobsAllValues Inputted Manually.

Other sources:

  1. Exploding Topics – Number of Freelancers (2023)


This dataset ranks 50 cities, based on how good they are for freelance workers. To do this, 7 different factors were used. Once the data for the factors was collected, the factors were then normalised, to provide each factor with a score of between 0 and 1. If data was not available, a score of 0 was given. The normalised values were then summed, to give each location a total score out of 7. The locations were then ranked from highest to lowest, based on their total scores.

The factors used are as follows:

  • Electricity Prices – The average price for 1KW/h of electricity. [Country Level]
  • Income Tax Rate – The average percentage of income tax. Figure is calculated by taking the average from the lowest and highest marginal tax rate of each country. [Country Level]
  • Coworking Spaces – The number of coworking spaces available in each city. [City Level]
  • Average Salary – Average salary earned per month after tax. [City Level]
  • Internet Speed – Average internet download speed in Mbps. [City Level]
  • Wi-Fi Hotspots – The number of Wi-Fi Hotspots found in each city. [City Level]
  • Freelancer Jobs – The number of jobs on Indeed with the prompt “freelance” in each city set on “exact location only” [City Level]

The factors were indexed as follows:

  • Electricity Prices – High values get a low score. Low values get a high score.
  • Income Tax Rate – High values get a low score. Low values get a high score.
  • Coworking Spaces – High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.
  • Average Salary – High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.
  • Internet Speed – High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.
  • Wi-Fi Hotspots – High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.
  • Freelancer Jobs – High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.

All data is correct as of 13/10/23. The ranking data shown is a compilation of multiple data sources and may not be representative of real life. All data is accurate with regards to the sources provided. The following conversion rates were used to convert from USD: 1 USD = 1.58 AUD, 1 USD = 0.95 EUR, 1 USD = 0.82 GBP.